Saturday, June 19, 2010

Smoke On

We lucked out today with tickets and ferry passes to the Red Bull Air Race. Having only very recently even heard of this sport we were thrilled to go check it out. A neighbor rang our doorbell at 10:30 am today and said, "Get dressed and go to the race!" We followed her orders and it was great. If you aren't familiar with the Air Race check it out here. These are some of the best pilots in the world! They must also have an extreme personality to do the things they were doing.

The Air Race was an easy and quick commute via ferry. Landing in Jersey City it was Red Bull City plus. It is a top notch affair and the marketing and branding was brilliant. Three giant grandstands were set up just feet away from were the race was taking place. The majestic NY Harbor was the race site. Giant floating inflatable pylones are set up as an obstacle course for these incredible fliers. Pre-race we saw the tricked up Red Bull Helicopter. Ever seen a helicopter do back flips? It was very cool and crazy sight to see an aerobatic helicopter. Other festivities included plenty of parachuters, great music and some fun activities for the kids. Guess what the only cola available on premises was? You got it! Red Bull.

After taking our seats in the grandstands we were anxious to get the race on. The announcers were amazing at educating us on the race we were witnessing. My favorite bit of lingo from the day is most definitely "Smoke On" It was the last thing said when the airplanes dropped into race position. These little planes fly through the starting gate at more than 220 mph. It was pure adrenaline watching these planes flying at you just 10-20 feet above the water

The tickets were such a lovely surprise from a lovely neighbor. We were thrilled to check out the fun! Our favorite racer...Kirby Chambliss.

Smoke On!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have to admit the past year I have been partaking in some fun free a studio audience member. Fortune has given me the chance to see Martha Stewart (3 times!), Dr. Oz (never had heard of him and quickly discovered he has a cult-like following), The Marriage Ref, Carson Daly's New Year's Eve Special (blogged about in December), The Late Show with David Letterman and today I found myself at a taping for CBS Morning Show with a Christina Aguilera concert. All and all, not bad for my rookie year of a "studio audience member."

photo compliments of Mrs J. Brown

I have learned a few things, enjoyed watching the logistics of the shows and even scored some fun giveaways along the way. Martha Stewart is by far the easiest experience. She has her own compound. The line moves quickly, there are seats while waiting and they typically move you into the studio without much wait. And Martha has some great audience giveaways. Martha is definitely an awesome business woman and it shows. She is also humorous and very becoming in person.

The hardest audience experience are shows that tape at 30 Rock. I would chalk most of it up to the fact that there are a billion things going on in that complex so logistics are a little more difficult. Audience members are lined up and held for pretty long and typically moved to another area with some hurry up and wait. That being said I thoroughly enjoyed the Marriage Ref. Not so much for the show itself but the fact Jerry Seinfeld spent some time chatting with the audience. Pretty cool.

Letterman was awesome because he is Letterman! That experience was easy and fun as well since he has his own studio. Making the experience even better was we had "group tickets" so it was fun to be with ten of my favorite people.

Get studio audience tickets if you have a chance. Wear comfortable shoes, relax during the waiting part and sit back and enjoy the show! It's free...does it get any better?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So close...

Summer time is nearing. Manhattan is spectacular in the spring but I am ready for the sun! This month Brooklyn called our name three times and Staten Island and Queens earned our attention once. The "other" boroughs seem far away but in reality they are our next door neighbors. As prior post show I do have some love for Brooklyn, particularly the beaches. With family visiting we took an express bus and landed in Coney Island mid-May. It was a pleasure to show off the wild world of Coney Island. After a enjoying the views on the boardwalk we stopped in and said hello to Lola Star. Lola is a fixture in Coney Island and breaths her fabulous soul and spirit in her boardwalk store. Make sure you stop in someday and check out Lola, Shimmer and the pink feather walls. After the smaller visitors took in a ride at Deno's Wonder Wheel we all gathered and enjoyed the fare at the famous Nathan's.

Memorial Day weekend led some of us to Staten Island for a baby shower. Having only driven across Staten Island this was technically a first visit. The celebration was truly one of a kind. If you have never been to an Albanian baby shower you might put it on your list of "totally incredible things I have never been a part of!" The shower started at noon and went non-stop until 5 pm. The only reason the party ended was because the dj had another gig. Yes, I said dj. Not only did this baby shower offer a dancefloor, it offered two singing djs. Does it get any better? Amazing Albanian disco and pop blared and the circle dances were continuous. Needless to say it was a pleasure to be one of three non-Albanians invited to this incredible affair. The best piece of knowledge I gained was that Albanians like to mix red wine with Coca Cola. You read that right. Awesome. They even have a pop hit about that very subject. I have been to a lot of baby showers in my life but nothing even remotely close to this one. It was incredibly fun and an honor to be a part of these party people.

Brilliant sunshine begged us to go out and soak in the rays on Memorial Day. Once again we hopped on an express bus and ended up in Brighton Beach. Having just discovered this little beautiful neighborhood in the spring it was a pleasure to be back. The sand was clean and the people bright. Colorful swimsuits were sported by people of all ages in this most agreeable weather. Russian is what we heard from at least 90% of the beach dwellers. While partaking of vitamin D my mind wandered to the older folks on the seaside and wondered if their minds wandered to their days on the shores of the Black Sea? And how fun that the public restrooms (yuck, but necessary for days on the beach) were dolled up in artificial flowers and pictures of American presidents. Cannot vouch if the mens room was the glitzed up as well.

Last but not least May led us to the discovery of Jamaica Bay. To be honest it was a classroom field trip and bus ride courtesy of the NYC Dept of Ed that led us there but wow what a place! For those not in the know NYC is a huge spot for birding particularly during spring migration. Birding could be a post all its own. Jamaica Bay is the most important birding spot in NYC. More than 300 birds have been spotted at this bird sanctuary. The osprey nest was a huge hit among the shorter crowd. Glossy Ibis, yellow warblers, tree swallows and the ever popular cedar waxwing were oohhed and awed over. I have to admit that birding can become addicting. It is quite the exercise in patience yet being on top of your game. Jamaica Bay is the most important urban wildlife refuge in the country. I am looking forward to visiting it again in the near future. What a beautiful natural treasure within the world of New York City.

Summer is so close we can taste it.

Bring on the Summer.